I was riding a big, beautiful Percheron mare named Indy that I had leased for several months. This mini-donkey who didn’t even come up to Indy’s knees had just moved onto the farm. Indy saw the mini and it scared her witless. She spun and that is the last thing that I remember. We were on the driveway leading up to the ranch. I flew off to the side and apparently broke everything. Indy trotted back up to the barn all by herself, so proud of herself!
I broke my right femur, my right hip, and my right sacrum. On the left side, I broke 7 ribs, my collarbone, and my scapula. I whacked my head and I had a concussion and a brain bleed. My broken ribs punctured a lung, and I ended up with all kinds of complications from that. I remember none of it, which is wonderful.
My friend to the rescue!
A lovely friend of mine who was there realized I was in trouble. She ran down the driveway and apparently I was belligerent. I was trying to get up. She said,
“You had one eye going left and one eye going right and you were babbling.”
I was still trying to stand up and I was fighting her. My friend actually straddled me on the ground and was holding me down so I would not get up. She said,
“It was obvious that your hip was broken and that your arm was not functioning.”
My friend sent someone running for my phone, which I didn’t have on me. It was at the barn. They called an ambulance and my husband. Again, I know nothing of this… She said, “I didn’t take your helmet off, because I didn’t know what kind of shape you were in!”
When the paramedics came, they decided it was okay to take the helmet off… and it was cracked. I was pretty close to dead even with the helmet… but I’m sure I would have been dead if I hadn’t been wearing it.
I actually still have word retrieval problems.
Treatment & recovery
It was very scary going into the hospital with all of the Covid things going on. They let my husband into the emergency room. However, they sent him out of the room when they did the chest tube. Luckily, I don’t remember that. I guess it is a horrible thing.
One of the broken ribs had punctured a lung. It was for that reason that my husband bought me the vest to wear when I ride again. The broken ribs really did a job on me…
I had just retired and I was so happy that I could lease this beautiful mare. Prior to my accident, I had three great months with her, and then it all went to hell…
I was in the hospital for 2 ½ weeks between the surgery and the intensive care, and then another 2 ½ weeks for rehab. They actually put a titanium rod the entire length of my femur, and another one in my hip to hold it in place.
But they don’t do anything for broken ribs. They say, “Oh, they’ll heal.” I kept saying it feels like someone has a serrated steak knife and they are scraping the inside of my chest wall. It was horrific and it was a terrible ordeal.
My personal personal trainer!
The people I worked with in rehab were amazing. I did a little more than a month of outside therapy. Fortunately, my husband is trained as a personal trainer. He has gotten me to the point where I am so much stronger.
First, he bought a sawhorse and placed it in our living room. He put my saddle on it, and stuck a hobby horse head in the front! I practiced getting on and off the saddle. He had another exercise that he called “pony ups”. He had a big step ladder. I had to step onto the first step and swing my leg over, working both sides of the ladder.
I am stronger than I ever was before, thanks to all of the therapy. But it was not how I wanted to get there!
Medical Alert tags are a great idea!
ID MyHorse Emergency Identification Tags are an amazing asset. We moved from Massachusetts ten years ago. While I was living there, I had a Morgan mare and a Paso Fino gelding. I lived right next to the Douglas, Massachusetts forest. Often, I would just take off and ride! I could ride in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
I would ride for several hours. There was no cell service available. Although I did have a luggage tag hung on the saddle in case something happened, I had nothing for myself! I didn’t carry any identification. I am sure it would have been a much smarter idea if I had been wearing a medical information tag!